CENTER, Mo. | There will be a lot of new faces on the Mark Twain girls track and field team this season.
11 of the 22 student-athletes on the Tigers are freshman, with several upperclassmen also making their track debuts this season.
Mark Twain head cocach Erin Mack said her goals for this season are to improve with each meet and show continued growth.
“We have a lot of potential this season,” Mack said. “With 11 freshman and even some new sophomore and junior faces, we are going to fill events that we haven't been able to these past couple of years. Two years ago, we graduated a big group of seniors and we have been in the rebuilding phase since losing them. This incoming freshman group is going to be the boost we need to be competitive.”
The Tigers have had some spots vacant the past couple of years and Mark Twain will field a full team this year.
Mack said she is excited to field a full team and there will be a lot of room for growth and time to develop these athletes.
“I am anxious to see how they will perform against other sprinters, hurdlers, throwers, jumpers, mid-distance and distance runners,” Mack said. “They give 100 percent at practice and our underclassmen are eager to learn. Some of them are willing to step outside of their comfort zone and try new events.”
With so many new versatile athletes on the team this year, Mark Twain will have plenty of competition for positions.
“I do have some key returners that have set roles on our team, but I also have many events still to fill,” Mack said. “Last year, I started the season with 11 girls and by the end of our season, I was down to seven to eight healthy athletes. For the district meet, I only took my throwers, a couple of jumpers, couple of hurdlers, mid-distance and distance kids. No sprinters or sprint relays. I am hoping to change that this season and take a full team to our district meet.”
Mark Twain will look to Hannah Mallory, Audrey Ross and Madison Waddell as their top sprinters. Top distance runners for the Tigers include Zoe Miller, Elizabeth Northcutt and Matera Ellis.
Elizabeth Trower and Mallory figure to be Mark Twain's top hurdlers. Haley Branham and Anna Echternacht will be their primary athletes for discus and shot put.
Bre Black returns as Mark Twain's long jumper, but they do not have any returning high jumpers.
“I do have a couple of freshman girls that are going to try high jump and triple jump this season,” Mack said. “I am looking forward to filling those events with some potential athletes and progress to filling those roles on our team.”
Mack will look to Branham, Miller, Trower, Northcutt, Black and Mallory for leadership this season for a team dominated by freshman.
“We have some strong leaders this year and our experienced athletes are looking more confident,” Mack said.
Mack and the Mark Twain girls track team are looking forward to several meets this season.
“We always look forward to the Saukee Invite in Pittsfield, Ill.,” Mack said. “It's a small schools meet and in years past, our kids have performed well at this meet. We also enjoy going to Monroe City and Montgomery County. Both schools are great hosting schools with exceptional facilities. The competition is tough, but that is what we need to improve. We are also looking forward to going to the Jerry Ball Relays at Highland this year, it will be the first meet at their new facility.”
2020 Mark Twain Track and Field Schedule
Tuesday, March 24: at Montgomery County Invitational, 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 26: at Bowling Green Meet, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, March 31: at North Callaway Meet, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 2: at Monroe City Invitational, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 7: at Bowling Green Meet, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 14: at Jerry Ball Relays in Highland, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 16: at Pittsfield Invitational, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 21: at Monroe City Invitational, 3:15 p.m.
Friday, April 24: at Louisiana Invitational, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 28: at Louisiana Meet, 4 p.m.
Friday, May 1: at Mark Twain/Becky Thatcher Relays in Hannibal, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 5: at Bowling Green Conference Meet, 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 9: District Meet, TBD